Signaling an apparent end to a two-year old trade dispute relating to cross border trucking, Mexico has suspended its retaliatory tariffs on U.S. fresh produce and other goods.
The government of Mexico on Oct. 21 said it was immediately suspending the retaliatory tariffs totaling $2.4 billion per year after the first Mexican-based carrier was approved on Oct. 14 for access to U.S. roads by the Department of Transportation.
The North American Free Trade Agreement had provided for cross-border trucking by 2000, but Mexican truck access was fought by some members of Congress, U.S. labor groups and trucking interests.
In 2009, with the approval of NAFTA’ss arbitration panel, the government of Mexico applied retaliatory tariffs to a wide variety of U.S. goods because of termination of an earlier cross-border trucking pilot program. Recently, 10% tariffs have been in place on U.S. apples, cherries, grapes, oranges, onions and other commodities.
“Today’s announcement by the Government of Mexico means the fresh produce industry will no longer be caught in the middle of a dispute that created an economic barrier to trade for our farmers,” Tom Nassif, president of Irvine, Calif.-based Western Growers said in a news release. “We’re pleased that the two governments have been able to resolve a dispute that restricted access to a critical trading partner.”
Those sentiments were echoed by potato industry leaders who had seen frozen potato exports to Mexico lag because of the retaliatory tariff.
“For too long this unnecessary dispute had been allowed to linger, and the importance of today’s resolution cannot be overstated,” Justin Dagen, National Potato Council president and owner of Dagen Heritage Farms in Karlstad, Minn., said in a news release.